In its first meet of the year, the Georgetown women’s cross country team showed it has the talent and depth to run with the best teams in the nation, cruising to a first place finish at the Mount St. Mary’s Invitational last Saturday.

Director of Cross Country Ron Helmer brought a full ensemble of sprinters, middle distance, and distance runners to the contest.

“There were specific things we wanted to get accomplished down the line with the various athletes and every individual followed the race plan,” Helmer said.

Helmer’s plan materialized when the Hoyas dominated the 13-team field en route to a 61-point margin of victory. Georgetown, which amassed a mere 15 points, took the top seven individual finishes and outlasted second-place finisher Bucknell (76). American (107), Kutztown (117) and St. Francis (133) rounded out the top five.

“It was a very encouraging win,” Helmer said. “We wanted to run a controlled race early on and gradually pull away during the last half, and that’s what the team did. Everybody performed the role we had set out for them.”

In her first season as a cross-country runner, junior Jill Laurendeau took first place and paced the team, finishing the race in 18 minutes and 15 seconds.

“This race should really set the standard for the rest of the season,” Laurendeau said. “The team is very focused and hard working, and I think we demonstrated that today.”

Junior Erin Sicher, sophomore Amanda Pape, freshmen Nicole Lee and Jodee Adams-Moore, and sophomores Colleen Kelly and Rose Wetzel comprised the rest of the top seven finishers.

“We came out here today for a reason, and that was to get a good workout in and find our rhythm,” Sicher said. “It’s still early in the season and in the next few races we’ll have the opportunity to work together more as a team.”

Junior Carly Nuzbach, sophomores Treniere Clement and Sara Scholl and freshman Morgan Soule also turned in times placing them in the top 25.

Junior Emily Reaman and senior Tyrona Heath captured 26th and 27th place, respectfully.

“It was a very good team effort and I was definitely pleased with what I saw today,” Helmer said. “This group has the potential and chemistry that is needed to be a top-notch team.”

Next week the Hoyas will travel to the Cowboy Jamboree at Oklahoma State. Preparation for the post-season is still their main objective.

“It will be a much bigger step up from the meet today,” Coach Helmer said. “Nationally ranked teams like Kansas State and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, along with some top Division II, teams should make the race fairly competitive.”

Helmer plans to take the top 13 runners on the team, most of whom are underclassmen.

“Nicole Lee and Jodee Adams-Moore are probably two of the top 10 freshmen in the country,” Helmer said. “But they don’t have the advantage of all the years of experience.”

That means that the squad will have to look to upperclassmen leaders like Laurendeau, Sicher, and All-American junior Marni Kruppa, who sat this race out.

“There’s definitely a need for leadership on this team, and I’m comfortable that it can come from us,” Sicher said. “We don’t really have a vocal leader, but we can lead by action. And next week’s meet will be more competitive than today’s, but there will be no holding back.”

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